Mrinalika Jain, the founder of Kaushalam, is mostly known for her hand-painted tea pots. But how did it all start? Read on to find out…
I wandered through the narrow alleys of Jaipur city and discovered I found many traditional objects very interesting. At the time, I was totally influenced by Indian art forms. The culture, architecture, palaces, forts and old city markets really inspired me. So, I decided to use this inspiration to paint traditional items that piqued my interest. That’s how the hand-painted items of Kaushalam came to be.
At first, I showcased just two hand-painted tea pots in one of my exhibitions. Although the tea pots were surrounded by canvas paintings, they were the center of attention! That was the turning point of my career. Since then, I have hand-painted millions of tea pots and other home decor items and shipped them to people worldwide.
I have been painting ever since I was a child. Later, I decided to pursue a degree in fine arts. While I did this, I also started putting up exhibitions of my art works. I always wanted to be an independent person, though for a very long period of my life I didn’t work for money. So, that’s how I started earning money during my college days. Life took a sharp turn and being financially independent became mandatory for me. Circumstance showed up in the form of Kaushalam and this journey has been providing livelihood to so many people ever since.
I believe Kaushalam’s hand-painted items are love at first sight for most people. Indians tend to feel emotionally connected to the hand painted items; it takes them back to their childhood. And most foreigners find these rare, yet typical, Indian items wonderful to look at.
The Beauty of Kaushalam
My favorite Kaushalam products are the tea kettles! They have been my buddies for almost 8 years. That’s why they are my passion and I am quite emotional about them. It sounds crazy, but it’s true!
I achieved the technique I use to paint home decor items after much trial & error. The technique makes my products very long lasting, even after multiple washings! I mostly like to work with metallic and wood. However, I am planning to paint any object that is useful!
A typical working day is around 13 to 15 hours long for me. I start the day in my studio, where all the production takes place. Here, I guide artisans and test new samples, while also coordinating the planning, so we don’t miss the deadline for delivering our orders. Moreover, I single handedly take care of product designing, business development and overall management.
So, post lunch I prefer to spend time at a different location: my retail outlet. Here I meet so many people from different walks of life! I love interacting with people and getting to know more about them and their perspective toward life.
In next five years, if everything goes well, we hope to commence with a plan that will provide employment to many more needy people. We hope to create a platform where we can teach art to people who always wanted to learn art and other art activities.
Therefore, we hope our customers are people with a good understanding of what they are buying. If our customers value the efforts we have put in in each and every product we really appreciate that! And of course, we would love to see our product on the shelves of international chain stores.
On a final note…a bit of advice for aspiring artisans: Be passionate, never give up, keep working with all your heart & soul and God will show you the right path. Most important, be original. Let the art come from your own heart & mind.
Check out more of Mrinalika’s products at her online marketplace on Discovered. We would love to hear what you think about her story and products! Share your thoughts with us and use #idiscovered or tag us using @dscvrd on Instagram or @discovered on Facebook.